Cardiff city centre, despite its compact size, really packs a punch. Whilst the close proximity of Cardiff City stadium, the SSE SWALEC cricket stadium, the Cardiff Devils ice arena and the Principality Stadium all mean that major events are an almost weekly occurrence here; there is also plenty to keep off-season visitors entertained, too.
A national museum, a 100-year old theatre, an imposing castle and a thriving live music scene tick all of the boxes for culture vultures. Or, if you’d rather take in some scenery, there’s an enormous park (one the biggest in the UK) and a maze of beautiful Victorian arcades just perfect for an afternoon browse.
And all of this before we even mention the food. Cardiff city centre’s food and drink scene has been revitalized in recent years, with a new wave of independent restaurants, bars and pop-ups breathing life into an area of the city that was previously under threat of homogenisation.
Cardiff might not be as effortlessly cool as its cousin over the Severn bridge, but it’s exactly that unpretentious atmosphere that hooks people in and keeps them coming back.
Though the chains still reign supreme in Cardiff city centre, the independent restaurants found on the side streets and back lanes can certainly hold their own. The affectionately nicknamed ‘Sherry Quarter’ near the Principality Stadium houses a few of the best examples, encompassing the equally excellent Bar 44, Curado and href='https://www.getawriggleon.com/guides/cardiff/asador-44'>Asador 44.
Just a stone’s throw away, href='https://www.getawriggleon.com/guides/cardiff/the-potted-pig1'>The Potted Pig is, after 11 years, still delighting customers with modern British classics served in the atmospheric surrounds of a former bank vault; but it’s not all about impressive surroundings and stacks of space. href='https://www.getawriggleon.com/guides/cardiff/cafe-citta'>The Cafe Citta , one of the smallest restaurants in the country, is consistently packed with diners desperate for a plateful of their indulgent, classic Italian pasta.
The beautiful Victorian arcades are the most obvious choice for café-hopping in the city centre; you could easily spend an entire day doing just that. Whether it’s an oat-milk latte, an Americano or an old-fashioned cup of English Breakfast that you’re after, cosy spots like Corner Coffee and The plan cafe are fine places to stop a while and people watch whilst satisfying your thirst.
For fervent foodies, a trip to Wallys Deli or Madame Fromage is a must. In either of these Cardiff institutions you can browse shelves bursting with the finest, hand-picked local and international produce, before taking a seat and sampling a selection for yourself.
Whether it’s wine, craft beer or cocktails that you crave, Cardiff city centre has it all. For bold beers, head to Tiny Rebel, href='https://www.getawriggleon.com/guides/cardiff/small-bar-cardiff'>Small Bar or the CAMRA award-winning Hopbunker for a laid-back atmosphere and a wide selection of craft ales that break free from the status-quo.
If cocktails are more your thing, you’re also in luck. Cardiff has fully embraced the speakeasy trend, with href='https://www.getawriggleon.com/guides/cardiff/pennyroyal'>Pennyroyal, href='https://www.getawriggleon.com/guides/cardiff/the-dead-canary'>Dead Canary, or relative newcomer href='https://www.getawriggleon.com/guides/cardiff/gin-juice'>Gin n Juice being the ones doing it best; meanwhile href='https://www.getawriggleon.com/guides/cardiff/lab-22'>Lab 22 prefer to serve their cocktails with a scientific twist – using dry ice and test tubes to dramatic effect.